Work continues on the Crazy Horse Memorial in the sacred Black Hills of South Dakota. Photo: Jerry and Pat Donaho

Elizabeth Cook-Lynn: Art is politics

Native Sun News Today Columnist

As we look at recent events concerning public art, it is difficult to say that ART is NOT political. Of course it is!

The recent visit by the current president of this country to the monument called Rushmore has made that fact abundantly clear. Though it comes as no surprise to most people who can put two sentences together, there has never in our lifetimes been such a crass, cynical , ugly and despicable display of it as we have witnessed this past week.

The first thing to know about all of the sculptures on that sacred mountain, including the ridiculously false image called Crazy Horse is that we are all the victims of this kind of ART. Not everyone gets it!

Elizabeth Cook-Lynn. Courtesy photo

There are many ironies in these kinds of displays of ART and some know there is nothing new about Europeans coming into the North American continent to create their own art and their own story.

The latest comer is a man called Trump who, like the virus that has us in its grip these days, won’t go away. He courts his “base”, a cadre of flag waving white-man drivers of decorated pick-up trucks up Highway 44W, and he is telling them that liberal “left-wing fascists are trying to overthrow the American Revolution” simply because they disagree.

Fireworks and fly-overs from Ellsworth Military Complex accompany this newcomer’s ignorant words which he uses as his way to “preserve our monuments to history”, not knowing much about that history. Nor does he care about or give a second glance to the Sioux Indian protesters in front of him who, having experienced the indigenous history of America’s decades of war and colonization, are hauled off to jail by the South Dakota National Guard for disturbing him.

The truth is, America is no longer a new country, as it has often said to be. It is an old country inhabited by people who have wanted to create a new history. America is two hundred and forty four years old.

An adult nation, one that should know better than to believe that breaking treaties and building walls is a decent way to behave among nations, if it intends to become a democratic symbol to others.

America is in danger of becoming a ridiculous and irrelevant country just as D’Toqueville predicted. A sorry joke.

The Rushmore Monument accompanies the art called Crazy Horse, a monstrosity blasted into the Mountain since 1948 by a European sculptor Korzcak Ziolkowski. It is not the first nor is it the last of the desecrations suffered in these lands, but is an insult to every Indian in the country.

Zolkowski’s heirs have become the darlings of the tourist trade of the sacred Black Hills. He and Trump and countless other white-man progenitors of such arrogance show an ignorant tourist public what Indians around here call “the desecration tour”. The tour like much of the art by white men and women of the area represents quite obviously a failure to honor the values of Crazy Horse and his people.


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